Here’s an interesting study for you: A group of trained(ish) guys go on a diet for four weeks.
Half the group follows a standard diet, while the other half eat all their food in an 8-hour feeding window of either noon to 8pm or 1pm to 9pm.
Other than that, everything else was kept the same. Both groups followed an identical training program, which involved lifting weights three times a week. The macronutrient content (protein, carbs and fat) of both diets was also the same.
Which group do you think saw the best results?
In fact, both groups progressed at a very similar rate. Whether the men ate their calories in an 8-hour feeding window, or distributed them normally throughout the day, changes in body composition and muscular performance were almost identical.
Here’s how the researchers sum up their findings:
Our findings suggest that adopting a time-restricted feeding style of eating does not enhance reductions in fat mass over caloric restriction alone during a 4-week diet. Furthermore, daily 16-hour fasts do not impact the ability to retain lean mass and improve muscular strength over the course of four weeks in recreationally active populations who resistance train.
There were lots of things to like about this study – the researchers used the 4-compartment model (the gold standard for measuring changes in body composition) to track changes in fat loss and muscle growth.
Ultrasound scans, which can detect changes in muscle size that body composition tests fail to spot, were used on the quads and biceps. And both the resistance training program and diet looked pretty solid.
The main limitation with this study is the fact that it lasted just four weeks.
However, longer trials on the subject of intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding show much the same thing. As long as your overall diet is set up properly (which I show you how to do inside Gutless – https://muscleevo.co.uk/gutless), it doesn’t perform any better – or, for that matter, any worse – than continuous calorie restriction when it comes to fat loss or muscle growth.
Christian Finn, M.Sc.
Founder of Muscle Evo